It takes a special quality to stand out in the often oversaturated singer-songwriter field, but somehow DAUDI MATSIKO manages. His downtoned and husky vocal invites you in as a listener, asking you to really listen to the tales that he is telling, all the while accompanied by the delicate meandering of his acoustic guitar. His most recent single ‘Take Me Old’ is the perfect introduction to his music, his latest outing being a combined reissue of his first two EPs – ‘A Brief Introduction To Failure’ and ‘The Lingering Effects of Disconnection’ – under the moniker of ‘An Introduction To Failure’, which is out now.
Below Daudi tells us more about his music, what led him to pursuing music and a heap of underground artists that we would be wise to keep an eye on (there’s a playlist too!)
You’ve released your single ‘Take Me Old’. It’s a beautiful listen, can you tell us a little about the track?
I usually sort-of-jokingly say at gigs it’s all my fears about growing older wrapped up in to one song… but it’s more than that. It was inspired by situations I’ve experienced in life and experiences close friends have gone through. It a bit like a laundry list full of my thoughts, fears and what I really want from life next to some nice sounding guitar with us all just hoping for the best.
You’re about to release ‘An Introduction To Failure’. What was the experience of writing and recording like for you?
It was a journey for sure. I could write an essay about how writing went; it was good and often challenging – honestly I spent most of the time writing feeling very anxious about the songs and not getting very much sleep. Some of the songs I wrote in a day, others took six months or more… Just finding space and quiet internally to be totally honest and either cut through or air out all the bullshit that weighs heavy.
Recording, I worked with my close friends Chris Boot, Ben Daniel and Ryan Buxton. We had friends Dan Leavers of The Comet Is Coming on sax duties and Georgia Lewis on accordion too. Chris engineered and he and Ben co-produced with the help of Ryan. It was hard work for sure, but I think we made something really beautiful that we’re all proud of. Adam Scrimshire mixed it and his handling of that was incredible.
What is your favourite song from the collection and why?
Probably ‘Houston In The Blind’. It nearly didn’t make it in the recording sessions, but once started it came together in a really pure and fluid way. I feel it captured perfectly how I was feeling at the time and it’s the song I still relate to the most, most days.
You previously released two EPs, ‘A Brief Introduction To Failure’ and ‘The Lingering Effects of Disconnection’. How did compiling ‘An Introduction To Failure’ compare to creating your EPs? Did you encounter any challenges?
It was always the plan for them to be paired together, so the journey was set from the beginning. I like to think of them as part one and part two. There may be a part three at some point.
What made you first pick up a guitar and what keeps you pursuing music?
I bloody love guitar. Richard Batty from Ramsey was my first guitar teacher. I always loved songs and stories. I played the cornet and piano as a youngster but I didn’t have much of a connection with either instrument. Once I picked up guitar, that was it really. From then on this was where I would end up. Guitar was my entry point for processing the world I lived in, it opened up a world of discovery and that’s how I fell in love with music.
Me and friends in school all connected with music in a similar way at a similar time – we all stuck together and supported each other. Chris and Ryan are two of those friends. Us all rooting for each other is really special and quite a rare thing. It is definitely a motivator on those more difficult days.
Are there any artists that have influenced your sound?
Loads. Everyone from Mary Lou Williams, Cinematic Orchestra, D’Angelo, Danny Brown and Ghostpoet to Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Feist, Bob Dylan and Radiohead.
What else will you be up to in 2017?
I’m currently working on my first album. It’s a really personal project to me. It’ll take a little time, hopefully it won’t be too brutal an experience. But I’m excited about it and suppressing as many nerves as possible.
Are there any underground artists we should keep an eye on?
Yes. There’s a bunch of Nottingham bands that deserve loads of love like Keto, Yasmin Lacey, Shelter Point, HCBP, Broadstrokes and Three Body Trio. Check out my friend Kidepo, an incredible Ugandan songwriter. The rapper Noname has been an absolute favourite of mine and my little sister for a long a while now. Fazerdaze from New Zealand and Neils Broos from the Netherlands have been on heavy rotation in my house.
I’m also really in love with Aidan Knight, Khruangbin, The Weather Station, Claude Speeed, the band STUFF., The Comet is Coming and The Last Dinosaur who’ll be playing with me in London on the 26th of May. There’s also this band called Moon Hooch who never fail to crack me up on a hard day, they’re full on hilarious. Listening to them is weirdly cathartic. They’re loads of fun and I really like it.
Listen to Daudi’s playlist of his favourite underground artists above…
Daudi Matsiko’s reissue of ‘An Introduction To Failure’ is available now.